Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Diamond Shake, to find out about his origin in music, what inspires him and more.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Diamond Shake: I started playing drums when I was 11 and joined my first band at 14. I eventually began teaching myself guitar and started to write the songs for the band, and when we couldn’t find a singer I was the only one left for the job. At college I played drums again in a band before finding the bass guitar, and then that became my main instrument for the next 10/12 years. I grew up in London and moved out to LA 8 years ago to try and make music a full time job and have been here ever since.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Diamond Shake: I normally hear, or kind of see, part of a song in my head and then work it out with an acoustic guitar. Then I’ll figure out the production, a basic mix, and all the other parts in my head and start recording. Lyrics always come last.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Diamond Shake: I think listening to as much music as possible really helps creativity. It will end up worming its way into your own work in some way. Lyrically, I always write about me as I think I end up sounding a bit pretentious writing about other people, or some type of social situation. I find it easier to be more honest when it’s about me and so I can get over feeling awkward about lyrics as I know it’s genuinely how I feel. And I’m an insecure narcissist deep down so it has to all be about me.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Diamond Shake: I find it’s the most personally emotional creative form. With anything on screen it’s made very obvious in which parts you are supposed to feel happy or sad. In music every part of every song affects people in different ways. There might be a guitar solo or bass line that makes you smile every time, or a specific lyric that you relate to that makes you sad. It’s different for everyone. It’s also the only art form that makes you move. You can be sitting with your eyes closed, not really paying attention to the music, and find your foot tapping along or your head nodding without even noticing. There’s something in music that, when done right, literally causes a chemical reaction in the brain and gets you moving. Also, the collective joy it can bring to a large group of people is amazing. To be part of a crowd and see everyone singing along and smiling is a really unique and incredible thing.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Diamond Shake: Rock music you can dance to.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Diamond Shake: The album I put out was a big production with full band, big backing vocals, synths, you name it. I don’t have a band so any live shows are just me and an acoustic guitar. I really enjoy that type of performing and it has forced me to rewrite all the songs in that style. So now there are two versions of each and potentially two different live shows.
Review Fix: What inspired this latest single, “The Only Lead”?
Diamond Shake: I wrote “The Only Lead” three years ago when I was struggling to find a way out of a really uncertain point in my life. I was trying to make an album on my own while also trying to qualify for a visa to stay in the US, and I had no idea how I was going to get either of them done. There is a huge amount of work to do for a visa, and constantly having to justify your worth to people who then get to decide if you can stay in your home takes a huge toll mentally. This time around had been even harder due to a previous nightmare experience, and going through the immigration process during the Trump era had brought new problems.
I had no real idea of direction in anything at that point, and with my family in the UK and not knowing many people out here, I was dealing with it all pretty much alone. At certain times I definitely felt on the edge and questioned how much I had in me to keep going, but I knew that the only way to improve anything was to work harder. I thought “no one is going to do it for me so just keep going and something will come out of it”, and that was the inspiration for the lyrics.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2020?
Diamond Shake: I’d like to get back into dating and meet someone. The loneliness of living during Covid is starting to get to me a little, but I have no idea how it’s really feasible at the moment, especially with my issues in trusting people.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Diamond Shake: I’m going to release a 9 song live acoustic covers album in December called “Covered in Covid”. I have been working on it for the last year or so and have filmed all the performances too, so I’ll be releasing those on Youtube along with it. Also Dominique, the music video maker, has almost finished the next video for “Flow” and that will be out in January.